'It will be an inspiration to live, pray and work among a family of such warmth, faith and love'
BY PIERS NiCGRANDLE Archbishop of Liverpool told The Catholic Herald this week of his new commitment to the ecumenical movement.
Patrick Kelly, Bishop of Salford, said that "to be ecumenical was not just an option for the ordinary Catholic; we have to be faithful to the whole tradition of Vatican H, which makes the necessity of the ecumenical enterprise abundantly clear".
He added that he was "looking forward to working alongside Bishop Sheppard and all other church leaders in Liverpool". While confessing that he knew little of Liverpool, he added that he was looking forward to the challenges that Liverpudlians presented. "It will be an inspiration to live, pray and work among a family of such warmth, faith and love".
The new Archbishop of Liverpool, whose appointment has gone down well in both liberal and conservative circles, succeeds Derek Worlock, whc died of cancer earlier this year. Bishop Kelly, 57, is of Irish stock and is considered one of the brightest theologians in the Church, with a special
"BisHor KELLY is a bishop with a great deal of pastoral experience from his time in Salford and also of an excellent theological background. I am sure he will do a good job in Liverpool and I warmly welcome the appointment" Cardinal Basil Hume "I WELCOME the Rt Revd Patrick Kelly very warmly to the fellowship of the Churches of Merseyside and Region. 1. look forward to working in close partnership with him" Bishop David Sheppard, Anglican Bishop of Liverpool "IT COMES as a relief to most of us. The word on the street is that he is less progressive
interest in liturgy. He is also renowned for his pastoral skills; in Salford he gave every priest a phone number which only he would answer. Kelly, a northerner, was tipped as a favourite choice, sharing a theological conservatism and a social progressivism.
His appointment follows an unusually protracted consultation with all the than the rest of them. It will be getting back a bit to a more faithful mode of Catholicism"
author Alice Thomas Ellis "WE ARE delighted with the appointment of this Bishop which may heal this sad rift which has divided the Church. Division never benefits anyone"
PG Allen, general secretary, Associated Catholic Traditionalists
"I AM VERY pleased. He is a theologian and very interested in peace issues. He will continue the ecumenical dialogue with the Rt Revd David Sheppard"
Fr Michael de Felice, parish priest, Bootle, Merseyside members of the English Conference of Bishops since Archbishop Worlock sent in his resignation to the Pope in March 1995 following his 75th birthday. The delay in the appointment has demoralised a leaderless Liverpool, and caused a damaging rift in the Church.
Matters came to a head early this month, when the novelist Alice Thomas Ellis published an attack on the record of Archbishop Worlock in the Herald. She claimed that the Archbishop had caused the diminution of the Catholic faith in Liverpool by his advocacy of ecumenism.
In the resulting debate, critics claimed that the Church was being hijacked by a few vociferous conservatives a claim denied by traditionalists.
Bishop Kelly, who has been Bishop of Salford for 12 years, will need to bring his considerable pastoral experience to bear in Liverpool. Running the diocese is a notoriously difficult task; Liverpool has over 500,000 Catholics, although Mass attendance rate stands at 20 per cent. The Bishop was rector and lecturer at Oscott college, a seminary in Birmingham where he established a reputation for imaginative exposition of church teaching. In Salford, the bishop was known as supporting first confirmation and the sacrament together.
As Archbishop, he will play a formative role in the development of English Catholicism as the Church approaches the millennium. But one problem remains. how to address the new Archbishop. Although a man of sound good humour, he is understood to shudder at the prospect of being called "His Grace Kelly".